38 answers

Extra for a Toddler Sitting in Lap?

Okay ladies I need help on this one!!! I have been searching for information on setting up a flight from Texas up North but I notice that it does not give me an option to mention that I am taking my 2 year IN MY LAP!! He's still small for his age and it would be a waste to take up a whole seat for him if I know he would not sit in it (this is his very first time flying!!!) He'd be sitting with either myself or my husband in our laps. I called an agent last night but I am not even sure if she understood my question..all she said was to continue with the booking and call back ..but since he's 2???? I keep seeing that they charge a "child's fare" which I think is rediculous but if we have to, we have to..has anyone gone through this i'm litterally freaking out right now..I can't leave my baby behind because we have no one to help us with babysitting so that is not an option!!!

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Thank you all for your input. We have gone to the airport and asked and called travelocity and asked and were given the same answer, we will not be charged extra for holding him in our lap (on one flight it is a 2 seater per row) as long as we take his birth certificate proving that he is 2. After much consideration though we are just taking emergency money with us just in case they do hassle us and things change within the month. I guess it all just depends on the airline.

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If they're 2, they have to have a ticket, and be prepared, the airline will ask for a birth certificate. We had to have the hospital fax one to the airline to prove that my granddaughter was only 21 months old.

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Unfortunately once they are two you are required to buy a childs ticket for them even if they are small for their age. Even for infants on the lap there is a small charge I believe which is like 10% of the ticket fare.

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Yes, as far as I know , all airlines start charging for a seat for 2 year olds. I know it's an extra cost, but you can take a carseat on and you may love not having him on you the whole time. I don't think the airlines do it just to make money, it's a weight consideration and a seatbelt thing.

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Hi C.-

Hopefully you'll receive a more definitive answer from someone in the know but my understanding (at least of the airlines that I have flown) is that at 2 years old you do need to purchase a ticket for the child. Prior to 2 they can fly on your lap for free. Now, whether or not they ask for any proof of age at the gate I don't know but I do believe at 2 you have to purchase a ticket. I believe airlines have to set an age limit so that parents who are trying to save money don't ride with a 4 or 5 year old (or older) on their laps.

You know your child better than I do, but we have flown 3 times with our children at various ages from 6 months up and have always purchased a seat and brought their carseat for them to sit in. They usually sleep and it's much more comfortable for mom and dad, too. Also, in case of turbulence or a rough landing they are much safer.

Good luck,
K.

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For any child over 2 years old, you must purchase a seat for them and they must be sitting in it with their seat belts on for take off and landing or any other time the seat belt sign is lit up. If they turn off the sign, you would be allowed to have him in your lap, but even for a small 2 year old, I can tell you it is super uncomfortable. I hope this answers your question at least. You do need to purchase a seat for him.

Oh, and the child's fare is pretty bogus. It's a percentage off of a full fare ticket and if you buy your tickets online you can usually find a cheaper ticket than what they offer for the child's fare. Good luck and have a fun trip!

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C.,
I would suggest that you call the airline again to verify what the agent means by "up to two". I have been a travel agent for over 10 years and I know of NO airline, domestic or foreign, that allows a child to travel as a lap passenger without paying once they have reached the age of 2. "Up to two" means that they must be less than 2 years old. If 2 year olds were allowed to fly as lap passengers, they would say "age 2 and younger". Every airline I have dealings with say "once the child reaches their 2nd birthday, they have to purchase a seat". Regardless of whether the child sits in your lap or not, once they are 2 years old, they are required to purchase a seat.

As for a child fare, unless you are traveling on an international flight, the child's ticket will cost the same as yours if you purchase a non-refundable excursion fare. Child discounts on domestic tickets, if available, are typically only discounted off of the full fare ticket, not the non-refundable lower cost ticket.

You say your child is "small for his age", so you may be able to pass him off as UNDER 2 years if you get the right gate agent. But, if they question you, you will need to be prepared to pay up for his ticket. We had a client once whose child was 18 months old and large for his age. They questioned the parents and were going to make them purchase a ticket for the child. Thankfully the mom just happened to have a copy of the child's birth certificate to prove that the child had not reached their 2nd birthday.

1 mom found this helpful

Unfortunately once they are two you are required to buy a childs ticket for them even if they are small for their age. Even for infants on the lap there is a small charge I believe which is like 10% of the ticket fare.

1 mom found this helpful

C.,
All airlines require that you buy a seat for any child over the age of 2. I have traveled over 8 times with my young boys and I realize that at age 2 they do sit in your lap the whole time, but, the airline makes you buy a seat. I think only southwest airlines offers a child based fare, but you have to call them to book and get that rate. I know it makes it more expensive and you will likely not use the seat, but for some reason, that is the airlines policy. Use the space wisely for things like a small pillow and play area while you travel. Good luck with the flights.
L.

1 mom found this helpful

If they're 2, they have to have a ticket, and be prepared, the airline will ask for a birth certificate. We had to have the hospital fax one to the airline to prove that my granddaughter was only 21 months old.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm amazed that everyone is focused on the issue of a 2 year old not being able to sit on your lap for the flight and no one has brought up how incredibly unsafe that is! Since he is over 2 and you will have to pay, make sure you bring a FAA approved car seat (most of them are) so he can be as safe as possible. Safety should always trump money. Have a great trip!

1 mom found this helpful

A toddler 2 years old is required to have a seat. Most airlines require you put in a date of birth when you choose that you have a lap child. Most times it will ask is there a child under 13 flying and you choose yes and that is where they ask the DOB and if the child is a lap child or if they have their own seat. My 2 year old son and I travel monthly. A couple of suggestions on getting lower airfare is to buy your tickets on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you can fly on Tuesday or Wednesday or Saturday your fare will be less than traveling on Thursday. Most fares are most expensive traveling on Friday and Sunday.The further time from travel you purchase ticket the less expensive it is. There are flights you can buy on sale and change planes that will save you money but your time to travel is longer since you have to connect. With a 2 year old it is easier to travel on direct flights and at nap times if possible. Sign up with the airline you are wanting to travel to get their emails and that is a good way to see their sales. Best of luck. If you have other questions, feel free to email me.

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